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Open Hardware: Raspberry Pi, PinePhones and More

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Hardware
  • Build a Raspberry Pi Zero W Amazon price tracker

    Have you ever missed out on a great deal on Amazon because you were completely unaware it existed? Are you interested in a specific item but waiting for it to go on sale? Here’s help: Devscover’s latest video shows you how to create an Amazon price tracker using Raspberry Pi Zero W and Python.

  • Environmentally-friendly Raspberry Pi projects

    However, not only is the Raspberry Pi line good for your conscience, they’re also pretty good for the environment too. The device runs off a very low-voltage micro USB power supply, making it incredibly energy efficient and, providing you take decent care of your Raspberry Pi, the hardware usually has a long life span. This means there is no reason for your Pi to end up in a landfill within a few years or so of purchasing it, unlike a lot of hardware.

  • Build a Raspberry Pi laser scanner

    You really don’t need anything too fancy to build this Raspberry Pi laser scanner, and that’s why we think it’s pretty wonderful.

  • February Update: Post CNY And FOSDEM Status Report

    A lot has happened in the past month. PinePhones have finally begun arriving in the hands of their owners, we had a great showing at FOSDEM, and new hardware was announced. If you haven’t yet read my post about our trip to FOSDEM and the new devices, then I encourage you to do so. Behind the scenes, much work is currently being poured into consolidating and evolving current projects as well as exploring new ones. There are some really exciting months ahead of us!

    In the meantime, we have plenty to discuss.

  • Use your TV as a computer monitor: Everything you need to know

    You definitely can use an HDTV as your PC's display, though. Here’s everything you need to know about how to set up a TV as a computer monitor—and why you might not want to.

A $99 Chromebook is so much better with Gallium Linux installed

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

Chromebooks have been around for a while now. For the most part, they’ve been relegated to schools who need cheap laptop computers that can open a web browser and connect to the internet. For a long time, that’s really the only thing Chromebooks were good for. Luckily, web-based apps have evolved a lot over the past 25 years and we’ve got some really great functionality that can be accessed all via just a web browser.

Today, some of the more-expensive Chromebooks have added support for running Android apps as well as some Linux programs via a virtualized Crostini container. Chrome OS is, after all, based on a Linux kernel, but usually greatly dumbed-down from all of the other powerful capabilities of Linux. Those Chromebooks are in the $500+ price range though (here’s a list), which seems kind of ridiculous for something who’s main function is to open a web browser and load web pages. Why not just get a Windows or macOS powered computer at that point?

I recently bought a $99 refurbished HP Chromebook 11 with the intention of taking it apart and converting it to a Gallium OS Linux laptop. My teenage god daughter accidentally spilled water on her really nice HP convertible Windows 10 tablet/laptop PC and of course the warranty doesn’t cover that. So she also needed something for school. She refers to Chromebooks as “Jitterbug laptops” which is a reference to those overly basic mobile phones that only have 3 buttons so that you can only call 3 people. The Chromebooks she’s used at school are similarly limited in her mind, and I’d say she would be correct. The majority of Chromebooks can basically only run Google’s Chrome web browser. Gallium Linux, on the other hand, not only gives you the power of a real computer, but also provides some heightened capabilities for technological freedom.

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This $200 Laptop Is Like a Chromebook You Can Hack

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

For some reason, despite the fact that our devices can seemingly do anything with an impressive level of polish, there are folks who want to learn from the tech they use.

They want a challenge—and an adventure. I think I’ve learned over the last year or two that I’m one of those people. I primarily like using Hackintoshes despite the fact that the machines are intended for Windows, and I will mess with old pieces of computing history just to see if they uncover new ways of thinking about things.

So when I heard about the Pinebook Pro, I was in. Here was a laptop built on the same ARM architecture primarily used for smartphones and internet-of-things devices, and designed to run Linux. Is it for everyone?

Maybe not. But, if you love an adventure, you should be excited about what it represents.

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NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux Driver

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Hardware
  • NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Game Crashes, New Extensions

    Not scheduled to go live until Monday but up this weekend is the NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux beta driver that offers a few Vulkan updates.

    The NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux driver fixes a regression that caused some Vulkan games to crash due to swapchain issues. Affected games include at least F1 2017, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and DiRT 4. This beta driver also fixes a visual glitching issue when falling out of page-flipping such as alt-tabbing on Linux.

  • NVIDIA have a new Vulkan Beta driver out for Linux fixing some regressions

    NVIDIA continue being quick to advance their Vulkan drivers as today they released an update to their special Beta branch.

    440.58.01 is out which adds in support for two more Vulkan extensions with VK_KHR_shader_non_semantic_info and VK_EXT_tooling_info which sounds quite useful to help developers track down what might be causing an error.

    For games this release fixes up a Vulkan swapchain recreation crash with F1 2017, Rise of the Tomb Raider and DiRT 4. NVIDIA also solved an issue with visual glitching of Vulkan applications when "falling out of flipping" with an example being when you alt+tab, however they're still investigating an issue to do with this on the GNOME desktop.

Apple's Non-Standards and Linux

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Linux 5.7 To See USB Fast Charge Support For Apple iOS Devices

    The Linux 5.7 kernel that will be out in the late spring / early summer is poised to see support for USB fast charging support for Apple iOS devices.

    Currently if charging an Apple iPhone / iPad from a USB port by default it will not draw more than 500mA per specifications. However, iOS devices can draw more power when communicated to do so via Apple's protocol. With Linux 5.7 a new "apple-mfi-fastcharge" driver will allow this capability of up to 2500mA.

    The apple-mfi-fastcharge driver will allow setting the power supply property via sysfs to "fast" and in turn lets the iOS device draw more power from the USB port, similar to the behavior of MFi certified chargers.

  • Apple Firmware Update For Magic Keyboards Decides To Change The Fn Key

    Linux has supported the Apple Magic Keyboards since 2018 handling the Bluetooth connectivity and also needing some special handling for the numeric keypad. While that normally would be the end of the story, recent firmware updates to the Apple Magic Keyboard have caused problems.

    Newer Apple firmware updates to the Magic Keyboards have caused the function (Fn) keys to be reported differently. So on current Linux kernels when running on an Apple keyboard with updated firmware, the Fn key may not behave correctly.

Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 WiFi 6 Router Sells for $135

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

The router runs a customized version of OpenWrt called “MiWiFi ROM”, and can be configured via a web interface, or Mi Wi-Fi mobile app for Android or iOS.

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Devices/Embedded: Loongson Pi 2K, E-paper, Wind River, Raspberry Digital Signage and More

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

OpenShift, Kubernetes and Expensive IBM Hardware

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GNU
Linux
Red Hat
Hardware
  • Integrating IBM Z and LinuxONE into the Red Hat OpenShift developer ecosystem

    My role at IBM is to make sure that we’re equipping developers with the tools and resources you need, along with the selection and guard rails you prefer, to help you focus your efforts entirely on innovation. Security is key to unlocking the true value of the cloud, and we want that to be one less thing you have to worry about when you’re building high-performance solutions. To that end, this week we announced a major milestone furthering Kubernetes support for Linux on IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE: The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform for Linux on IBM Z and LinuxONE is now generally available.

  • March 5 webinar: Introducing Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Z

    Organizations aim to innovate faster and deploy applications more efficiently through cloud-native development — and they expect these applications to protect their data, scale smoothly, and be always available. Now you can meet all of these expectations by combining the leading container and Kubernetes application platform with the leading enterprise computing platform: Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Z.

    Join the upcoming webinar on March 5 to discover what happens when cloud native meets enterprise computing. You’ll learn how the agility of OpenShift, the security and scalability of IBM Z, and the containerized software of IBM Cloud Paks enable business innovation through cloud-native applications on mission-critical IT infrastructure.

  • IBM and Red Hat bring OpenShift to IBM Z and LinuxONE

    One of the things we often assume with the Red Hat OpenShift platform, and with Kubernetes in general, is that our users have computing needs that always fit inside a standard cloud node. While this is definitely the case for most cloud-based applications, there are plenty of non-JavaScript-and-Redis style applications out there that still need to move into the cloud. Some enterprise applications were written before the cloud existed, and still others were created before JavaScript, C#, and Python even existed. Older systems written in languages, like PL/I and COBOL, can also benefit from the move to cloud, and from the use of containers, they just need a little extra attention to make the transition. Sometimes, they might need more specifically tailored environments than are available in the commodity-hardware-based clouds.

    Or maybe, those systems need to also run extremely large, mission-critical databases, like IBM DB2. In order to unlock the true potential of a multi-cloud compute environment, that cloud software needs to run on a diverse array of hardware similar to what is already in place in some of the world’s largest enterprises and governments offices. Spreading cloud capabilities into these larger systems enables containers to exist in the same environment as the company’s central database, and to embrace and modernize those older applications that may still run the most the basic aspects of a business’ day-to-day operations.

A Raspberry Pi Kiosk

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
Debian
HowTos

Unlike my usual Raspberry Pi hacks, the kiosk would need a monitor and a window system. So instead of my usual Raspbian Lite install, I opted for a full Raspbian desktop image.

Mistake. First, the Raspbian desktop is very slow. I intended to use a Pi Zero W for the kiosk, but even on a Pi 3 the desktop was sluggish.

More important, the desktop is difficult to configure. For instance, a kiosk needs to keep the screen on, so I needed to disable the automatic screen blanking. There are threads all over the web asking how to disable screen blanking, with lots of solutions that no longer apply because Raspbian keeps changing where desktop configuration files are stored.

Incredibly, the official Raspbian answer for how to disable screen blanking in the desktop — I can hardly type, I'm laughing so hard — is: install xscreensaver, which will then add a configuration option to turn off the screensaver. (I actually tried that just to see if it would work, but changed my mind when I saw the long list of dependencies xscreensaver was going to pull in.)

I never did find a way to disable screen blanking, and after a few hours of fighting with it, I decided it wasn't worth it. Setting up Raspbian Lite is so much easier and I already knew how to do it. If I didn't, Die Antwort has a nice guide, Setup a Raspberry Pi to run a Web Browser in Kiosk Mode, that uses my preferred window manager, Openbox. Here are my steps, starting with a freshly burned Raspbian Lite SD card.

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Noctua NH-U9S Performance For The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X + Ondemand vs. Performance Governors

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Hardware

For those that may be looking to run an air-cooled AMD Ryzen 9 3950X especially in a rack-mount 4U chassis, here are some recent results I did from some testing using a Noctua NH-U9S with two 92mm fan configuration. Additionally, these results contain performance metrics from both CPUFreq Ondemand vs. Performance governors as an additional point of interest.

These results are for reference purposes of the Noctua NH-U9S in a dual fan setup for this 16-core / 32-thread 3.5GHz (4.7GHz boost) CPU rated with a 105 Watt TDP.

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Also: CPUs From 2004 Against AMD's New 64-Core Threadripper 3990X + Tests Against FX-9590

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